A must-read for fans of a blossoming hero.

Welcome, one and all, to the marvelous Haly’s Circus, home of the dazzling Flying Graysons!

Summer’s arrived for young Dick Grayson, who feels trapped performing alongside his mother and father as part of Haly’s legendary act. Dwindling attendance numbers, however, offer much to worry about. Haly’s fortunes take a turn for the worse when a competing carnival sets up nearby. Crowds flock over to the Lost Carnival, a world “of unexplainable delights, and unfathomable dangers.” Dick quickly falls hard for the magical Luciana, a girl with a tragic, mysterious past, and the smitten pair soon embark on a summer romance destined for heartache. As tensions flare up between the circus and carnival, Dick notices something off about the otherworldly carnival. When his best friend, Willow, falls prey to a powerful spell, Dick must unearth the truth. In this brooding coming-of-age tale, Moreci’s portrait of Dick from the early days before he met Batman gives prominence to his relationship with his parents and, by extension, his life at Haly’s and the independence he craves. Though Luciana exists more as Dick’s dream girl than a fully fledged character, their professed hopes and doubts prove to be startlingly moving. The moody artwork—awash in glum blues for Dick and golden yellows for Luciana—nicely reinforces the tale’s themes. Both Luciana and Willow are girls of color in an almost entirely white cast.

A must-read for fans of a blossoming hero. (Graphic fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-9102-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020


A timely and well-paced story of personal discovery.

Time travel brings a girl closer to someone she’s never known.

Sixteen-year-old Kiku, who is Japanese and white, only knows bits and pieces of her family history. While on a trip with her mother to San Francisco from their Seattle home, they search for her grandmother’s childhood home. While waiting for her mother, who goes inside to explore the mall now standing there, a mysterious fog envelops Kiku and displaces her to a theater in the past where a girl is playing the violin. The gifted musician is Ernestina Teranishi, who Kiku later confirms is her late grandmother. To Kiku’s dismay, the fog continues to transport her, eventually dropping her down next door to Ernestina’s family in a World War II Japanese American internment camp. The clean illustrations in soothing browns and blues convey the characters’ intense emotions. Hughes takes inspiration from her own family’s story, deftly balancing complicated national history with explorations of cultural dislocation and biracial identity. As Kiku processes her experiences, Hughes draws parallels to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and the incarceration of migrant children. The emotional connection between Kiku and her grandmother is underdeveloped; despite their being neighbors, Ernestina appears briefly and feels elusive to both Kiku and readers up to the very end. Despite some loose ends, readers will gain insights to the Japanese American incarceration and feel called to activism.

A timely and well-paced story of personal discovery. (photographs, author’s note, glossary, further reading) (Graphic historical fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-19353-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020


From the Manga Classics series

A charming adaptation.

A miscommunication leaves Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert responsible for a plucky, effusive orphan girl instead of the boy they’d expected to help maintain their farm.

Retold in traditional manga format, with right-to-left panel orientation and detailed black-and-white linework, this adaptation is delightfully faithful to the source text. Larger panels establish the idyllic country landscape while subtle text boxes identify the setting—Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the 1870s. The book follows redheaded Anne Shirley from her arrival at Green Gables at 11 to her achievement of a college scholarship. In the intervening years, Anne finds stability, friendship, personal growth, and ambition in Avonlea and in the strict but well-intentioned Cuthbert siblings’ household. The familiar story is enhanced by the exciting new format and lush illustrations. A variety of panel layouts provides visual freshness, maintaining reader interest. Backmatter includes the floor plan of the Green Gables house, as well as interior and exterior views, and notes about research on the actual location. A description of the process of adapting the novel to this visual format indicates the care that was taken to highlight particular elements of the story as well as to remain faithful to the smallest details. Readers who find the original text challenging will welcome this as an aid to comprehension and Anne’s existing fans will savor a fresh perspective on their beloved story. All characters appear to be White.

A charming adaptation. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947808-18-8

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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